he Great Lakes Bay Region is known for many things. The area has fabulous festivals, celebrations, Lake Huron and, of course, chemistry. The town was partially built around the study of chemistry. So it just seemed fitting for this group of roller derby girls to pay tribute to that founding study by calling themselves the Chemical City Derby Girls (CCDG).
“Roller derby itself is life changing and incredibly empowering,” said CCDG President Rachel Baker – or Easy Bake Shovin,’ as she’s known in the roller arena. “Our sport has built a place where all sizes, ages, religions, genders – you name it – are welcome with open arms.”
Roller derby is a strength-based, contact sport on skates consisting of two teams of five members skating around the track to win the bout. A roller derby bout is played in two 30-minute periods broken into jams. During each jam, the two teams each put five players in the rink: one jammer, three blockers and one pivot. The objectives of a roller derby bout are relatively simple. Each team fields a single point-scoring skater (the jammer) whose object is to lap as many opposing skaters as possible.
Each player plays a vital role in the team, not just from the positions they play but the support and sisterhood that comes along with the sport. For many of the women on the roller derby team, taking the hits and bumps as well as the teamwork have become an important part of life. The women shed their identities, strap on thick knee pads and assume their roller derby personas for the bouts in hopes of winning the jam.
“I have a feeling that creating sisterhood was most likely at the top of our founders’ list when the idea of our team was first brought about – and that is what CCDG fully embodies,” explained Baker.
CCDG formed many years ago and is made up of about 30 females from all different walks of life. The team does a large amount of training to get ready for each bout. In fact, in order for a player to be able to skate as a rostered player in a game, she must have passed a minimum skills test and be deemed ready to play by the training committee. Every skater is different because of her experience level, and the sport itself requires physical demands in order to play.
“The minimum skills test itself is not a test that is taken the first day a skater shows up to practice. This test may take weeks or even months to pass,” said Baker.
The team competes around the state and calls Midland’s Roll Arena home. The team is a part of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association league. To follow the Chemical City Derby Girls or check upcoming bout dates, visit the team’s Facebook page or email Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.